There were a number of madrona that reached out, over the house on the island — and given the winds, we cut out the riskier encroachments. Seeing all the sheared limbs, we thought to make some offering arrangement of their passing, from one life to another. And this ritual expression, on the lower bluff, was to capture that spirit. And to stride into the new year.

We found one large rock, that probably weighed upwards of 600 pounds. Beautiful, pyramidal and nicely variegated — with lifting, levers and iron bars, we moved to the teetering edge of the emplacement, calculating the last “flip” to allow it to rest on a tripod of stones.

Rather than making this transition seamlessly, it rolled instead, down the hillock, off the cliff and into the water. You can see it, looking up at you, standing on cliffside.

We started anew — dragging another less beautiful stone — but still hefty and flattened on one edge. Nudging, angling and levering this into place, it slid off the supporting stones and took the better part of “hours”, to get it back in place. Let me emphasize the word: back. Backbreaking, more like it.

We then had the tripod support of nestled stones, the new large one — and spied yet another for a trinity of arrangements. Hauling this down in a large canvas bag, dragging it down to the edge, it too took off, and rolled (with the hauling bag) to the waters below. Another solution was settled on, capped with a tall apex stone, rearing up like a sharpened cone of granite. The remains of a prayer flag from Barkhor, Lhasa was wrapped around this assembly. And a weaving of reddened, orange madrona made their way as a nesting, around the base.

At deep nightfall, new years eve, we lit candles and burning willow and alder incense, creating a blazing torch to the opening of the year. Our doe came, to visit the spectacle.

As of last night, leaving in the roaring and gale winds of an northbound rushing storm, she still stood there, resolute.